Apparently, It was “Play like your Opponent Night” at Marlins Park, and only the two participating teams knew about it.
Miami struck early and often, beginning their onslaught with back to back home runs in the first inning. They never looked back, as they scored nine runs in the first four innings, eight courtesy of Dallas Keuchel. While Jeremy Walker came in and impressed with his work tonight, the Marlins quickly removed any doubt about this one.
Dallas Keuchel entered the night with a 3.86 ERA. Once he left the game after getting only 11 outs, it stood at 4.75. Surrendering 10 hits, three home runs, and eight earned runs in less than four innings will cause that type of spike. This arguably was the worst start of Keuchel’s career. While Keuchel has consistently put the Braves in a position to win, the hope has to be that this is more of an outlier than a trend setter for the rest of the season.
The Braves offense certainly did not offer Keuchel any support on its own. Elieser Hernandez cruised for six innings against the Atlanta offense, allowing just two hits and striking out seven. The Braves simply had no answer, as Hernandez seemed to be two or three steps ahead of almost every hitter he faced.
While Atlanta never had a chance, there were a few bright spots. As mentioned above, Jeremy Walker did quite well in a mop up roll for Atlanta. While it was a low leverage situation and it was against Miami, his outing was definitely encouraging.
That’s No. 3️⃣0️⃣ on the year and Acuña’s 1️⃣2️⃣th in 31 games vs. the Marlins. pic.twitter.com/QXbnvJWPoB— FOX Sports South (@FOXSportsSouth) August 9, 2019
However, the big moment was obviously Ronald Acuna Jr. connecting for his 30th home run of the season. He became just the third player at 21 years old or younger to hit 30 home runs and steal 25 bases in a season, joining Andruw Jones and Mike Trout. The amazing thing is that Acuna Jr. reached the home run plateau in nearly 100 less plate appearances than the other two. His first full campaign in the majors is truly turning into something historic.
As I mentioned against the Royals, every team each year has multiple nights where they inexplicably lose. The problem for Atlanta is that with each bad loss such as this, they simply eliminate the margin of error for it to happen again. It does not appear that the Nationals, and potentially the Mets and Phillies, are going away. There is simply too much season left. For both Keuchel and the Braves, they need to forget tonight and formulate a plan of getting back on track soon. Hopefully they Braves and Marlins got all of the irony out of their systems tonight, and Atlanta can win the the weekend before they leave Miami.